9 influential hip hop artists getting involved with the tech industry
There is a growing interest that rap music elite are developing for the tech industry. For a couple of years they have invested not just their time but also their money into those fields and got involved in promoting those products too.
Even other important tech personalities like Biz Stone (co-founder of Twitter), Marissa Mayer (CEO of Yahoo), the music artists Will.i.am and MC Hammer got involved in the remix of the video “Too legit to quit” to support Ed Lee who was then San Francisco interim Mayor and that was back in 2011.
There is also the popular website referred as Rap Genius that is well known for annotating rap lyrics poetry and literature. Rap Genius became so popular that even Andreessen Horowitz, a prominent Silicon Valley firm invested $15 million in the site.
Many more artists are getting involved and investing in tech companies or starting their own startup. Other have tried both. They are investing in esoteric projects like electronic cigarettes and 3D concert apps or working on startup staples like search, wireless technology and imaging.
Here are 9 of them, you probably already know them and the tech products they represent.
The rapper has an e-commerce startup that offers products endorsed by celebrities. He co-founded 12society.com, a lifestyle brand for fans of hip hop. Other co-founders involved in the project are Nick Cannon, Kevin Love, Michael Strahan, Tim Lincecum and basket ball star Blake Griffin.
The website works on subscription bases. By contributing $39 every month the user will be sent a box full of all kinds of products from clothing to tech accessories. Every single product is hand picked by the team of celebrities founders and endorsed.
In a guest post he wrote on TechCrunch, Nas noted that Amazon and eBay have opened the railway and Groupon has allowed the discovery of new local activities and for that matter we are entering into a new universe that completely changes the game.
One of the biggest hip hop producer, Dr. Dre, is making sure that we enjoy the best sound quality when listening to music. To do that he is given us the best quality headphones in the market. They are those sleek, color headphones you see everybody talking about online, the Beats headphones. They don’t come cheap. In 2011, the man who brought Eminem to the world sold a majority stake in Beat Electronics to HTC.
He may not have invented the auto-tune mic but he made sure everybody else hears about it. Aside that he has been involved in a couple of apps. T-pain attended and supported the launch of Gig it. The game that was about to launch of Facebook is designed to enable users to create concerts in a 3D world.
And of course one would expect an app for auto-tuning. Well there is the “I Am T-pain” app designed by Smule just for that. Users rely on it to create songs with auto-tune.
Apparently T-pain is so fun of Facebook that he decided to put a “Like” tattoo on his skin.
It might be a while since you heard of MC Hammer. He is alive and investing in tech too. The artist co-created a dance website that got popular under the name DanceJam, Unfortunately it didn’t survive for that long and it is now closed. In 2011 the rapper made a bold move and announced another search engine startup WireDoo. The website has not launched yet. He is currently a social media adviser for Flipboard and has invests in Square, the startup that allows users to accept credit card with an app installed in their iPhone.
The musician believes in a healthier lifestyle and to help smokers give up on cigarettes he has invested in electronic ones. Electronic cigarettes can help addicts get some relief during detox.
The Black Eyed Peas member is making sure that users enjoy taking photos with their iPhones by offering a case that gives you more filters when taking a picture. He also went as far as creating his own car company called the i.am.auto. Will.i.am is one of the first to have invested in Beats Electronics (the company producing Dr. Dre’s Headphones).
There have been rumors about Jay Z signing a big deal with Samsung Mobile. A deal estimated to be around $20 million. He founded an entertainment company called RocNation which invested in a video sharing app called Viddy and private jet services.
Last year Jay Z invested in a type of wireless phone charging technology that Duracell is working on. He serves also as a spokesperson to the company.
The rapper 50 cents knows how much time some of us spend on the computer and he wants to help us better protect our eyes. So he invested in some type of special eyewear company called Gunnar Optiks. The company has designed glasses that increase contrast and reduce glare. Not only that prevents the straining of the eyes by it also enhances details on the screen.
50 cents has also followed the footsteps of Dr. Dre by putting into the market his own headphones called sleek by 50.
Snoop Lion (Snoop dog)
The rapper Snoop dog has now re-branded himself into Snoop Lion and this year alone he has been involved in 2 apps. He is offering a track notes apps that is called Snoop Lion’s Reincarnated. That app was released in conjunction with his latest album for listeners to keep track of whatever is said.
The other app is called Snoopify. Users can rely on it to add virtual stickers to their friends’ photo in order to make them look more like Snoop dog.
That aside Snoop has been involved in tech every since the early days. He joined twitter way back in 2008 and in 2011 joined instagram. He also has his own Youtube and Google plus channel that he updates frequently with content.
Tech has become the way of life and artists are very well aware of it.